Pigskin’s 2023 NFL Draft Grades RAIDERS

May 18, 2023

The new leadership council is well on its way to a retooling of the RAIDERS roster which had been the work of Team GRUDEN/MAYOCK. And quite frankly I think many of the initial moves initiated by Team ZIEGLER/McDANIELS already look like moves that are still heading backwards, or running in place. DEREK CARR out, JIMMY GAROPPOLO in, does not strike me as a move forward. And the list of former MAYOCK/GRUDEN Draft Picks jettisoned from the inherited roster looks more like a Soviet Politburo purge than roster improvement.

Enough of that for now. If you want to read about unhappiness in the RAIDERS locker room, go follow DAVANTE ADAMS on Twitter. For now let’s look at the 2023 Draft class in Vegas. They entered the Draft with a league leading 12 Picks to use, and ended up wheeling and dealing til they had picked 9 players, not 12.

Round 1, Pick 23    TYREE WILSON    DE/ER    Texas Tech    6’6/270      PP Rank 4    They moved back, we thought to build Draft Capital (see more on that later) but still got WILSON somehow. I am a bit concerned that his availability this late has to do with his lower leg issues and Combine Medical. If healthy, he is a superior player with plenty of athleticism and the energy to go with it. He looks like a long term option to start opposite MAD MAXX CROSBY.

Round 2, Pick 35    MICHAEL MAYER    TE   Notre Dame   6’5/265       PP Rank 13   The best all-around inline TE of this Draft. Do not forget that WALTER & MOREAU are gone and they needed a quality replacement. MAYER will be a fine compliment to their wideout group of  ADAMS/RENFRO/MEYERS,  and will also be a boost to their run blocking. They clearly felt someone was going up to get MAYER ahead of them, which caused them to trade up 3 spots for him.

Round 3, Pick 70    BYRON YOUNG    DL   Alabama   6’3/295      PP Rank 184   I thought YOUNG had a solid season for the ‘Bama DL group. But honestly, I thought someone had made a mistake filling out the selection card, or someone at NFL read it wrong. I thought they meant to take the other BYRON YOUNG/ER/OB/Tennessee. This YOUNG should make a solid DL rotational guy for them, and not much more. OOPS!!! And people were calling out MAYOCK 3 years ago… not so fast my friends.

Round 3, Pick 100   TRE TUCKER   WR/RS    Cincinnati    5’9/185     PP Rank 185    Another case of mistaken identity? Didn’t they mean to take his teammate WR TYLER SCOTT, who I had ranked at 68? No, maybe not. I had all but forgotten how high TUCKER stood in the eyes of some scouts because of his return skills. If he can give them a dynamic Punt Return threat, then I stand corrected here. I do remember JIM NAGY pointing out his value there during Senior Bowl week.

Round 4, Pick 104     JAKORIAN BENNETT    CB     Maryland    5’11/195    PP Rank 75    They traded up from Pick 107, whoops there goes more Draft Capital, and did end up with a Top 100 player on my board. They need this athletic Corner to win a starting job and upgrade one of those corner spots for them. He had a fine 2022 season for the Terps with 10 PBU and 2 INT, and he clocked a 4.31/40 at the Combine. Plug him in guys.

Round 4, Pick 135     AIDAN O’DONNELL    QB     Purdue    6’3/210     PP Rank    200  And yet another Pick that was not theirs when the Draft began. I big thank you shoutout to former Purdue Head Coach Jeff Brohm. HIs pass first Offense really helped O’DONELL and his favorite target JONES shoot up Draft Boards with their 2022 productivity. O’DONELL gives then a seasoned college QB who may make living as a backup QB in the NFL, but nothing more than that in all likelihood.

Round 5, Pick 170     CHRISTOPHER SMITH   S   Georgia    5’11/195     PP Rank 179     Pretty close in value to where I had him ranked. Nothing special but plays smart, and hard. Coming from that dominant UGA D makes him attractive to most despite average athleticism overall. A tip-off on his athletic limitations might be an athletic ranking at Combine of 19th out of 20 total S in Indy.

Round 6, Pick 203    AMARI BURNEY    LB    Florida    6’1/230      PP Rank 198     Right on target with my rank for him. Like many players who get a new coaching staff for their final year in college BURNEY may have gotten lost in the shuffle and the desire to get younger guys some experience. May have a chance to earn a Special Teams roster spot to stick around and improve his status overall.

Round  7, Pick 231   NESTA JADE SILVERA   DT   Arizona State    6’1/315    PP Rank NR    After the 3rd coaching change since he had been recruited to Miami (F) I think this guy just got frustrated and transferred to be closer to home. He has done some good things in his career, but never clearly dominated. This is Round 7, and they need help in the trenches, so what the heck.

I do NOT like the way they traded constantly, often to move up only a few slots. I am also shocked that they chose to ignore OL needs to help protect the oft injured GAROPPOLO. Although, I really like the long range potential of RFA McClendon Curtis, who looked really solid to me at the Senior Bowl venue. Just not sure he’s enough, or ready yet, to significantly improve that OL much for this upcoming season.

I count 38 new players on their recent 90-man roster. I’m just not sure how much they improve the team overall, compared to who the team got rid of.

Grade:     C-        Some of the talent taken was good, but why were they so paranoid of people jumping them to take “their” guy.?I swear, the ghost of AL DAVIS moved with this team to Vegas and haunts their facilities.